Anglo American’s Quellaveco, which is set to increase Peru’s copper production by up to 10% in full operations, has marked the milestone of first copper concentrate production in the Moquegua region.
The benchmark comes ahead of the mine’s receipt of its final regulatory clearance for commercial operations to begin.
Mine development head Tom McCulley said the achievement was on time and on budget.
“The fact that we are today producing copper less than four years after project approval, including through two years of considerable pandemic-related disruption, is testament to the strength of our commitment to our workforce, local communities, the Moquegua region and government stakeholders in Peru,” he said.
“This first production of copper concentrate marks the beginning of the normal period of testing the processing plant with ore and the ramping up of mining activities to demonstrate readiness for operations.”
Adolfo Heeren, CEO of Anglo American in Peru, called Quellaveco “a project for all of Peru and especially for the Moquegua region” that will deliver sustainable benefits for decades to come.
“[This includes] 2,500 direct jobs, the incorporation of local suppliers into our supply chain, the increase of water sources for human consumption and irrigation, digital connectivity, the expansion of agricultural areas and tax revenues. By working together in partnership, we will deliver enduring positive outcomes for all our stakeholders,” he added.
Quellaveco, an open-pit mine, began construction in 2018 with estimated total capex of US$5.5 billion. Last year, Anglo American also approved the construction of a coarse particle recovery plant to allow retreatment of coarse particles from flotation tailings to further enhance copper recovery rates.
Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of copper equivalent per year on average over the first 10 years of operation.
Source: Anglo American